Early Monsoon Rains Bring Relief and Hope for Indian Farmers

Monsoon rains arrived in Kerala earlier than expected, providing relief from heat and hope for good harvests. These rains are crucial for India's economy and agriculture, as they enable the planting of key crops. The India Meteorological Department forecasts a favorable monsoon, vital for food production and inflation control.

Reuters | Updated: 30-05-2024 16:32 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 16:32 IST
Early Monsoon Rains Bring Relief and Hope for Indian Farmers
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Monsoon rains hit the coast of India's southernmost state of Kerala on Thursday, two days sooner than expected, weather officials said, offering respite from a gruelling heat wave while boosting prospects for bumper harvests. Summer rains, critical to spur economic growth in Asia's third-largest economy, usually begin to lash Kerala around June 1 before spreading nationwide by mid-July, allowing farmers to plant crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugarcane.

The monsoon has covered nearly all of Kerala and most northeastern states, the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement. Conditions favoured its spread to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and the northeastern state of Assam during the next two to three days, it added.

That spells relief from a stifling heat wave that has driven maximum temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in some northern and western regions. The monsoon, the lifeblood of the nearly $3.5-trillion economy, brings nearly 70% of the rain India needs to water farms and recharge reservoirs and aquifers.

In the absence of irrigation, nearly half the farmland in the world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and sugar depends on the annual rains that usually run from June to September. India is likely to receive an average amount of rain in June, although maximum temperatures are likely to stay above normal, the IMD said, with the monsoon this year expected to be 106% of the long-term average.

In 2023, below-average rainfall depleted reservoirs, hitting food output, prompting government curbs on exports of commodities such as rice, wheat, sugar and onions. Resumption of exports depends on how quickly production recovers in 2024, which hinges on a plentiful monsoon. That in turn could help rein in food inflation, which is still too high for the central bank's comfort.

The La Nina weather phenomenon, which increases rainfall in India, is expected to set in during July and September.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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